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Sharing Your Legacy: How to Share Your Life Story with Your Kids and Grandkids

Grandparents with child and adult looking through a scrapbook

There are probably stories about family, traditions, events, vacations and life lessons you’ve told your entire life. Your stories become a part of your legacy and sharing them with your kids and grandkids helps build family traditions. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to share your family stories with future generations in an engaging way. If you’re wondering how to write a memoir, here are some suggestions for how to begin.

Questions to Help You Get Started

When writing a memoir, it’s important to start with some questions. This will allow you to pick the proper format and help you decide which stories to share.

What do you want to pass along?

  • Are there stories about a specific life moment?
  • Do you want your kids and grandkids to know who their 2nd cousins are?
  • Do you have a family story about immigration you want to tell?
  • Are there important family milestones and landmarks like a family farm, first house or family-owned businesses?
  • Who are these stories intended for? Friends? Kids? Grandkids?

 

How do you want to share your stories?

  • Do you want to record a video or audio?
  • Do you want to collect and preserve old records or letters and have them read them themselves?
  • Do you want to build a scrapbook?
  • Do you have family photos you want to digitize and share?
  • Do you want to write a memoir?
  • Do you want to build a family genealogy site with historical information?

 

Making a Video or Audio Recording

In today’s era of short format video and podcasts, a good way to pass on your family stories to younger generations is by making a video or audio recording.

Getting Started

You can use a video camera, your phone or your computer. If you use a video camera or phone, you’ll want one that allows you to transfer your video or audio files to a computer.

Use Story Prompts

Any items – old family photos and documents, jewelry, clothing, furniture or personal items –and details you can use in your story will help create a picture. You might also consider recording a conversation between you and a friend or family member from your generation.

Organize Your Project

Label your recordings by topics, photo names or whatever you like. If you have photos, put a digital copy in the same folder on your computer as the matching audio or video files. Make sure the recording date is included.

There are also free online transcription services. However, check for accuracy by listening to the recordings while reading along.

Writing a Memoir

If writing is more your style, here are some memoir writing tips to help you tell a story that’s sure to draw them in no matter what their age:

Memoir or Autobiography?

An autobiography is the story of your entire life, but a memoir is just one story from your life. Sometimes a shorter format is less intimidating.

Who’s Your Audience?

Make sure you have a clear direction of what story you want to tell and its purpose. Some people write memoirs to pass on their wisdom or as a legacy piece for friends and family.

Find Your Focus

Choose specific experiences from your life that form a central theme. The narrower the focus, the more your memoir will resonate. Some questions to consider include:

  • What event set you on a journey?
  • What were the obstacles you encountered?
  • Who helped you along the way?
  • What were the lessons learned?
  • How were you changed?

Other Options for Sharing Family Stories

If writing a book or recording a video doesn’t feel right to you, here are some other creative ways to share your family stories:

Make a Family Tree

To anticipate your children and grandchildren’s family history questions, create a visual representation of your family tree and write down what you know about each person.

Pass Down Family Recipes

Collect family recipes into a book. Along with each recipe, include a photo of the dish, notes about the holidays or occasions when it was served and the family member who made it.

Organize Family Photos

Make sure your pictures are labeled. Then, if they are pulled out of the photo album or picture frame, they’re still identifiable.

Display Family Treasures

Keep objects and images visible to remind you of key events and moments. Or create a memory box of special treasures. Whenever you open the box, use the objects in the retelling of a family memory.

Write Your Next Chapter at Cypress Village

At Cypress Village, we feature a variety of ways to help you share your story. We offer everything from writing clubs to neighbors who are pros at ancestry research. Or use our fully stocked arts and crafts studio to put your photo albums in order. Best of all, you’ll be making friends while working on ways to share your legacy with future generations.